First fish: Logan McDermott (7 years old) with his first fish, a scup he caught off Jamestown, RI last week.
Weakfish (Squeteague) bite coming back. Logan Lemay of Bristol with the 21” weakfish he caught in Greenwich Bay.
Alex and Joe Noga of Rye, NY with two of the fifteen summer flounder (fluke) they caught off Newport Saturday on a family fishing trip.
Christine Blount and her son Capt. Nicky Blount, both from Narragansett, RI, proudly display a jumbo sea bass caught aboard the Frances Fleet.
Family fishing at Block Island: Al Bacon and his son from Austin, TX with a 33 pound striped bass caught with Captain John Sheriff of Fish On Charters.
It’s not all about the fish
As a fisherman, I have adopted the saying “It’s not always about the fish”. Just as important are the lessons we learn from fishing… discipline, patience, creativity, self reliance, conservation and how to have an adventure. However, the most important fishing lessons are obtained through the conversations and relationships we develop with fishing companions. To this day, some of my fondest fishing memories include fishing with my father, son, wife, brothers, brothers-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Everyone who catches a fish is happy. I have a wall in my office with photographs of people (young and old) who have caught fish on my boat and every one of them has a smile on their face. Fishing feeds our sense of self worth, makes us feel successful and gives us a sense of accomplishment. A sense of accomplishment and enhanced self image that is particularly important to young people.
So I thank Logan and Michael McDermott, Rob and his father Bob and their young neighbors, Alex and Joe Noga, and Chris Gasbaro and his friend Jason for fishing with me this week. Your spirit reminded me of what is important about fishing… the relationships we build with family and friends. And of course, I particularly liked the expression on Logan McDermott’s face when he said… “Wow, this is the first fish I ever caught.”
Fishing summer flounder (fluke) from shore
Local author and shore fishing expert Dave Pickering said, “Fluke will readily hit bucktail jigs from shore. The key is finding the fish, and you will generally have better luck in deeper water. You want to cast that jig out and let it sink to the bottom. Reel it in slowly with occasional jerks of the rod tip. The key is to keep it close to the bottom at all times. Using this technique in past summers I have landed black sea bass, fluke, scup, stripers and bluefish in the daylight on the jig.”
Learn how to catch bonito and false albacore this Monday
Bonito and false albacore are speedsters know to strip line off a reel at lightning speed. They are two of the most challenging fish to catch, yet they are the most fun. This Monday, July 28, 7:00 p.m. learn how to target and catch bonito and false albacore at a Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) seminar at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick, RI. Guest speakers will be Capt. Eric Thomas and Roger and Susan Lema. Capt. Thomas from Teezer77 Charters, Portsmouth, RI was a featured speaker on false albacore and bonito fishing at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show; and Roger and Susan Lema are two local expert anglers that target these fish (and do a lot of catching) every day once they arrive. Non-members requested to make a $10 donation to the Scholarship Fund, RISAA members attend free.
Meet with RI’s ASMFC commissioners
A meeting of Rhode Island's Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) members will be held on Thursday, July 31, 4:00 p.m. in the Large Conference Room in the Coastal Institute Building at the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett. The purpose of the meeting is to review and discuss the agenda for the upcoming August 5-7 ASMFC meeting in Alexandria, VA with our commissioners. Anyone may attend and offer input on the agenda items. The agenda for the ASMFC meeting is available on the ASMFC's website at http://www.asmfc.org/home/2014-summer-meeting. Key issues expected to be on the agenda include eels, striped bass, fluke and spiny dog fish. For further information contact Bob Ballou at Robert.Ballou@dem.ri.gov.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing continues to slow in the Narragansett Bay but is strong on Block Island and off Newport. Manny Guerzon of Quaker Lane Outfitters, North Kingstown said, “Block Island and Newport have been good for striped bass. Customers are catching them at night and day using eels.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, “Small bass in the 16” to 22” range are being taken from shore in the Providence River. However customers are still catching their limit using chucks of Atlantic Menhaden at Nayatt Point and in the Barrington Beach area.” Angler Bill Sokolowski said, “Headed out to the SW Ledge (Block Island) at 3:00 p.m. (Saturday). Current was at its max. Skies overcast. I ended up first catching a good size bluefish. Then on the same eel a 42 pound then a 38 pound striper.” Dave Keil of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “Block Island fishing is good, anglers are hooking up with 40 lb bass fishing the southwest side with eels and trolling umbrella rigs.” Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters, Pt. Judith said, “The bass at Block Island are very large this year. But the fishing is funny. We’re either catching our limit in 20 minutes or having difficulty finding them.”
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing has been good along southern coastal shores, at the Sakonnet River mouth, off Newport and the Harbor of Refuge in Narragansett and around Block Island. However in Narragansett Bay it has been a bit slower. I experienced a strong summer flounder bite off Newport Saturday when the wind and tide were in line, however, with a northeast wind, conditions were not ideal Sunday and Monday in Narragansett Bay for most of the day. Angler Eric Duda said, “Fished about 2 miles south of the Sakonnet Light house on Saturday. Left at 8:00 a.m. and returned at 3:00 p.m. Light wind until about noon, 1-2 foot seas. Caught about 14 fluke, 7 keepers, largest around 22”. Tons of small BSB in 14” range, kept 2 big ones.” Roger Simpson from the Francis Fleet reports good fluke and black sea bass fishing on nearly every trip this week. Roger said, “A good number of big fluke this week with quite a few fish in the 8 to 9 lb range… with a trio of fish in the 9 lb range (Friday) battling it out for the pool.” Minimum size for summer flounder in RI is 18” with an eight fish/angler/day limit.
Scup. Manny Guerzon of Quaker Lane Outfitters said, “Scup are everywhere just wet a line with some squid on it and you will catch them.” Michael and Logan McDermott landed scup to 15” while fishing on the west side of Jamestown north of the bridge last week. Scup minimum size is 10” with a 30 fish limit. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for special areas from shore were the size limit is 9 inches.
Black sea bass. “We had a six pound black sea bass caught Saturday and customer Mike Swain of Coventry and his two fishing partners easily caught their limit when fishing in the Breton Reef area off Newport Saturday.” said John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown. Black sea bass minimum size in RI is 13” with a three fish/angler/day limit. Anglers catch them as they target fluke, fishing the bottom with squid.
Weakfish or squeteague continue the comeback in our waters as they have for the past three years. Anglers are catching them in the Warwick Light area when targeting summer flounder. Loran Lemay of Bristol, RI caught a 21” weakfish using a bucktail. His mother Bobbi said, “He was ecstatic.”
Offshore. Matt Grennan reports on the RISAA blog, “Fished the claw to the northwest corner of the dump today, went 4/5 on small bluefin. Kept one and put tags in the rest. Water temps were 66-70 and green was the color. Just FYI for anyone interested, there are a ton of whales feasting on sand eels in 120' SSE of Block Island. Probably only 8-10 miles from the island.”
Shore fishing has been slow this past week. Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & Tackle, Westerly said, “Fishing from shore has not been good. Anglers from shore are finding it difficult to hook up with striped bass.” “Scup and Tommy cod, the first I head of this year, are being taken at Sabin Point (Providence) from shore, and the scup fishing is very good at Colt State Park and Conimicut Light” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait. Dave Pickering author and expert striped bass fishermen said, “The areas I fished (last week) were difficult to fish because they were loaded with weed. Still, I was able to hit some spots that had little weed, but no fish.”